Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Carrie Nettles, Beth Kotchick, Ph.D., Alison Papadakis, Ph.D., Sharon Green-Hennessy, Ph.D.

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Relational Victimization and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents:  The Moderating Role of Parental Support

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Recent literature on adolescent development has begun to focus on the role of peer interactions on mental health (Prinstein, Boergers, & Vernberg, 2001). More specifically, the research has highlighted relational victimization as a predictor of depressive symptoms among adolescents (Crick & Grotpeter, 1996). Further research is needed to help determine whether parental support serves as a protective buffer against the deleterious effects of relational victimization. In the present study it was hypothesized that being the victim of relational aggression would be positively correlated with depressive symptoms and that parental support would be negatively correlated with depressive symptoms. It was also hypothesized that parental support would act as a moderator for the relation between relational victimization and depressive symptoms. Participants in the final sample included 185 adolescents, 95 males and 90 females, between the ages of 11 and 14, with a mean age of 12.36 years (SD = 0.97). As predicted, there was a significant positive relation between relational victimization and depressive symptoms. In addition, parental support was correlated negatively with depressive symptoms. The results also supported the final prediction that parental support would act as a moderator of the relation between relational victimization and depressive symptoms. The current study provides support for the moderating role of parental support as a protective factor for adolescents who experience relational aggression.